Big hooks and big horns power saxman Steve Cole’s (www.stevecole.net) “Pulse.” In the 15 years since the release of his debut album, Cole has traveled full-circle creatively and arrived back home on the 10-song set mixing R&B, contemporary jazz, gospel, blues and pop that he produced with fellow saxophonist David Mann. The new collection, which will be released September 17th, showcases the artist’s affinity for infectious melodies, a wall of horns, and soulful grooves.
Cole’s inspired sax play throughout “Pulse” is poured with passion and precision. There is feverish urgency and muscle along with harnessed control, grace and gentility. Cole and Mann co-wrote the tunes for the album, which we recently sent you. The record is teeming with potential radio favorites and crowd pleasers crafted by a confident, self-assured artist who, after exploring an array of sounds and styles, has reclaimed his roots. The music on the album is the music that rhythmically throbs within Cole’s spirit. Long-time fans and those about to discover the works of this accomplished musician-songwriter-producer will find a bounty to feast upon.
The title track gets the beat going from the gun with plenty of horns and a funky mid-tempo groove. Cole composed the cut with whiz kid Nicholas Cole. Soaring brightly over a monsoon of melody, the hook on “Do Your Thing” packs a punch from the opening notes and fondly recalls the late 1960s and ‘70s. The album’s first radio single, “With You All The Way” provides a warm, empowering hook that embraces as Cole’s sax pledges devotion. The single is the #1 most added and earned #1 most increased plays honors on the smooth jazz charts this week. Cole covers Mann’s “Slinky” that uncoils amongst complex beats and an edgy funk groove armed with old school guitar riffs from Bernd Schoenhart while Ricky Peterson dispenses gusts of rousing organ. Cole always wanted to record the soul classic “Going In Circles,” which he used to play in his native Chicago clubs. Backing vocals from Nicki Richards add heavenly touches while plush horn section swatches provide the ideal backdrop for Cole’s impassioned, show-stopping sax that seemingly pleads for mercy. Sunny, optimistic and brimful of hope, “Looking Up” is another big and buoyant hook that connects instantly. Peterson’s gospel-like Hammond B3 organ paves the way for a triumphant, throw your arms in the air in praise sax solo. Head-bobbing hip hop rhythms introduce an entirely different dimension on “Maximum Cool.” The chill groove with slamming beats reeks of the streets. With a title inspired by R&B band Mint Condition, Cole’s lively sax sparks the flavor on “Minty Fresh.” The almighty horn section provides a combustive burst while surfing a skin tight rhythm. On “Ain’t No Love,” gritty lead vocals from guitarist Rico McFarland add ambience and street cred to the track packed with horns and a choir of background voices. McFarland’s guitar shreds before Cole’s tenor counters with a wall-shaking guttural growl. The retro riff on “Believe” is familiar and friendly offering a gospel jazz confirmation reminiscent of the ‘70s. Peterson’s organ blasts testifies and sanctifies the album closer.
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